About the Builder:
The first Ibanez Vai Signature models were introduced at the Chicago NAMM show in 1987. The JEM's were the spearhead of the rebirth of Ibanez that year and the eventual status of Ibanez as one of the top three electric guitar companies in the world.
About the Guitar:
Previously to using Ibanez guitars, Steve Vai used handbuilt guitars by Charvel & Jackson and Gavin H. Menzies (Gavetone). An example of such guitars can be found in our TYS collection.
Vai decided to deal with a bigger company. Just before Christmas 1986 Ibanez received Vai's guitar specification; they were similar to Despagni's guitars. Ibanez built one of their "Maxxas" guitars for him with a palmrest for the tremolo. Vai liked the model and decided to produce that particular guitar with Ibanez. It took five months to make the new model samples in Japan, the JEM guitar and the RG range which launched at the NAMM Industry Trade Show in June 1987.
Steve Vai has one JEM7VWH with exactly the same specification as the guitars on the market, which he named "Evo". The main features of JEM7 variants are the monkey grip, which are located above the pickups and the scalloped fingerboard that applies from the 21st fret up to the 24th. This series is also equipped with DiMarzio Evolution pickups. In 2003, the 7VWH specifications were changed from an ebony fingerboard to a rosewood fingerboard.
The VWH is arguably the most popular JEM ever built. Steve has been playing EVO and other versions of her for over 15 years, and is most associated with the VWH than with any other guitar he's every played.